25 Billionaires Who Are Giving Away Their Fortunes

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Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Young philanthropists dominated this year’s list of the 50 biggest donors in America, with three of the top five well under 40.Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, 28, came in only behind Warren Buffett on the annual list from The Chronicle of Philanthropy. He and wife Priscilla Chan gave 18 million shares of Facebook stock, valued at close to $500 million, to support education and health programs in Silicon Valley.

Even so, giving remained below pre-recession levels. The top 50 donors on The Chronicle’s list committed $7.4 billion to charity in 2012, down from $10.4 billion the previous year. The median gift was $49.6 million, down significantly from 2007’s high of $74.7 million, according to The Chronicle.

We’re looking at the top 25 donors on this year’s list; check out the complete list at The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

#21 (tie) George Roberts

Amount donated in 2012: $50 million

Net worth: $3.7 billion

Beneficiary: Claremont McKenna College

Background: Roberts is a founding partner of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, an international private equity firm.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#21 (tie) Eugene Lang

Amount donated in 2012: $50 million

Net worth: n/a

Beneficiary: Swarthmore College

Background: Lang founded REFAC Technology Development Corporation, a manufacturing and technology-transfer company.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#21 (tie) Jeff and Judy Henley

Amount donated in 2012: $50 million

Net worth: n/a

Beneficiary: University of California at Santa Barbara

Background: Henley is chairman of the Oracle Corporation.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#21 (tie) Jonathan and Karin Fielding

Amount donated in 2012: $50 million

Net worth: n/a

Beneficiary: University of California at Los Angeles School of Public Health

Background: Fielding is the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and an investor.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#21 (tie) Ernest Scheller Jr. and Roberta Scheller

Amount donated in 2012: $50 million

Net worth: n/a

Beneficiary: Georgia Institute of Technology

Background: Scheller is the chairman emeritus of Silberline Manufacturing.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#20 Joshua Rechnitz

Amount donated in 2012: $57 million

Net worth: n/a

Beneficiary: New York City Fieldhouse

Background: Rechnitz is a philanthropist and heir to the fortune of his grandfather, Robert H. Heilbrunn, an investor who died in 2001.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#19 Herbert and Florence Irving

Amount donated in 2012: $60 million

Net worth: n/a

Beneficiary: Columbia University Medical centre, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Background: Irving co-founded the Sysco Corporation, a distributor of food service products.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#18 Irwin and Joan Jacobs

Amount donated in 2012: $60.05 million

Net worth: $1.5 billion

Beneficiary: Joan and Irwin Jacobs Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego

Background: Jacobs is the co-founder of Qualcomm, a wireless-communications company.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#17 Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver

Amount donated in 2012: $83.7 million

Net worth: n/a

Beneficiary: Community of Jacksonville, Baptist Health Foundation

Background: Weaver is chairman of Shoe Carnival and his wife, Delores, is managing partner of the John Gorrie Investment Group. They were majority owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars, which was sold last year.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#16 Brooke Astor

Amount donated in 2012: $88.8 million (bequest)

Net worth: n/a

Beneficiary: New York Community Trust, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Public Library.

Background: Astor, who died in 2007, was a prominent New York philanthropist and the widow of Vincent Astor, an heir to a real estate fortune.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#15 John and Jenny Paulson

Amount donated in 2012: $100 million

Net worth: $11 billion

Beneficiary: Central Park Conservancy

Background: Paulson is the founder of hedge fund Paulson & Company.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#14 Eli and Edith Broad

Amount donated in 2012: $101.5 million

Net worth: $6.3 billion

Beneficiary: Broad Foundations

Background: Broad is the founder and chairman of homebuilder KB Home Corporation and financial services company SunAmerica. The couple's foundation supports civic programs, contemporary art museums, education, and medical and scientific research.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#13 Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman

Amount donated in 2012: $116.4 million

Net worth: $1.9 billion

Beneficiary: University of Oxford

Background: Moritz is chairman of venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. His wife, Harriet, is a writer and former editor at The New York Times.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#12 Phil and Penelope Knight

Amount donated in 2012: $125 million

Net worth: $13.1 billion

Beneficiary: Oregon Health & Science University Foundation

Background: Mr. Knight is a co-founder and chairman of the Nike Corporation.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#11 David Koch

Amount donated in 2012: $137 million

Net worth: $31 billion

Beneficiary: Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Museum of Natural History

Background: Koch is the executive VP of Koch Industries, Inc.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#10 Guy David Gundlach

Amount donated in 2012: $140 million

Net worth: n/a

Beneficiary: Elkhart County Community Foundation

Background: Gundlach, who died in 2011, was the founder of Hastings Direct, an auto-insurance company he sold in 2006 for more than $220 million.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#9 Sheldon and Miriam Adelson

Amount donated in 2012: $143 million

Net worth: $20.5 billion

Beneficiary: Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation and the Adelson Family Foundation

Background: Adelson is a major hotel developer in Las Vegas and chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. His wife, Miriam, is a physician.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#8 Carl Icahn

Amount donated in 2012: $150 million

Net worth: $14.8 billion

Beneficiary: Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Background: Icahn is a hedge fund manager and financier.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#7 Fred Fields

Amount donated in 2012: $191.5 million (bequest)

Net worth: n/a

Beneficiary: Oregon Community Foundation, Lewis & Clark College

Background: Fields, who died in 2011, was the owner and chief executive of the Coe Manufacturing Company, which he sold in 2000.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#6 Mort Zuckerman

Amount donated in 2012: $200 million

Net worth: $2.4 billion

Beneficiary: Columbia University

Background: Zuckerman is the co-founder of real estate investment firm Boston Properties, chairman of U.S. News & World Report, and publisher of the New York Daily News.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#5 Sergey M. Brin and Anne E. Wojcicki

Amount donated in 2012: $222.9 million

Net worth: $20.3 billion (Brin)

Beneficiary: Brin Wojcicki Foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

Background: Brin is the co-founder of Google and Wojcicki is the co-founder of 23andME, a genetic-testing company.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#4 Paul G. Allen

Amount donated in 2012: $309.1 million

Net worth: $15 billion

Beneficiary: Allen Institute for Brain Science

Background: Allen is the co-founder of Microsoft and the founder of Vulcan investment company.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#3 John D. and Laura Arnold

Amount donated in 2012: $423.4 million

Net worth: $3 billion

Beneficiary: Laura and John Arnold Foundation, education and other public non-profits.

Background: John Arnold is the founder of the Houston-based hedge fund Centaurus Energy and his wife was a corporate lawyer and a businesswoman. Their foundation supports initiatives that improve criminal justice, K-12 public education, and pension systems.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#2 Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan

Amount donated in 2012: $498.8 million

Net worth: $17.5 billion

Beneficiary: Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Background: Zuckerberg, 28, is the founder of Facebook. His wife, Priscilla, is a pediatrician.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

#1 Warren Buffett

Amount donated in 2012: $3.1 billion

Net worth: $46 billion

Beneficiary: Foundations run by his three children, which support causes from agricultural development to women to social justice.

Background: Buffett is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and a well-known philanthropist.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

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